Marine management, education, research and development
England - Marine Management Organisations and Activities
The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) was established in 2010 to oversee the management of England’s seas, including marine planning, licensing and management, policy development, and environmental protection measures. It is an executive non-departmental public body of the UK Government, sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). It has a staff of around 300, headquartered in Newcastle. Its marine remit extends from mean high water springs to a maximum of 200 nautical miles.
The MMO has offices in the North West area in Whitehaven and Preston.
The North Western Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (NWIFCA) is responsible for managing fisheries within 6 nautical miles from the shore within the North West marine region, and is one of ten such authorities in England.
The NWIFCA has an annual budget of around £1.3m, with two-thirds raised from a levy on local councils and the remainder from DEFRA. The authority enforces by-laws related to fishing, recreational sea angling, and cockle and mussel beds. It has two offices, one of which is on the Solway coast in Whitehaven, and five vessels. Overall, the NWIFCA has 22 staff across science, enforcement and administration roles.
Fisheries protection and enforcement beyond 6 nautical miles in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is handled by the Royal Navy’s Fisheries Protection Squadron. The squadron is based in Portsmouth and operates a number of patrol vessels.
Natural England (NE) is a non-departmental public body responsible for protecting and improving the natural heritage of England. It has responsibility for conservation designations. Its marine remit extends from the coast to the 12 nautical mile limit.
NE has offices in Cumbria in Penrith and Kendal. As well as designating National Nature Reserves (NNRS), NE also manage several of the NNRs in Cumbria close to the English Solway Coast including Finglandrigg Wood and Glasson Moss. A
The Joint Nature Conservation Committee is a UK-wide body which advises on delivering national and international nature and conservation responsibilities, working closely with Natural England.
Historic England is an executive agency of the UK Government with responsibility for designating, recording and protecting built heritage and ancient monuments in England. The organisation collects, records and interprets information on maritime and coastal heritage. In 2015, management of historic sites was transferred to a new charitable trust, English Heritage, although ownership remained with the state – sites within the Solway region are included in the Historic Environment and Cultural Heritage section.
The Crown Estate is a semi-independent public body which manages land and property held by the sovereign in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In 2018, Scottish operations were devolved to a new body, Crown Estate Scotland. The Crown Estate’s marine holdings include more than half of the country’s foreshore, virtually all of the seabed to the 12 nautical mile limit, and the continental shelf and extraterritorial rights.
However, some parts of the Solway foreshore are in private ownership, including Silloth Bay and around St Bees Head.
Trinity House is the official authority for lighthouses in England, Wales, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar. While independent, Trinity House is funded through light dues collected by the Department for Transport.
The authority is responsible for one lighthouse in the Solway region, at St Bees Head, and also oversees buoys and navigational aids.
Local authorities have planning responsibility down to the Mean Low Water Springs mark.
Solway Firth Partnership is a registered charity which works to support a vibrant and sustainable local economy while respecting, protecting and celebrating the distinctive character, heritage and natural features of the Solway marine and coastal environment. Its remit extends to both sides of the Solway Firth, with Partnership staff based in Dumfries. Membership is open to anyone with an interest in the Solway, and the Partnership is governed by a board of trustees which includes representation from each of the local authorities on the Solway Coast.
A number of other public bodies have marine management roles in English waters, including within the Solway Firth portion of the North West Marine Plan Area. Oil and gas extraction is the responsibility of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Department for Transport have responsibility for shipping, and the Ministry of Defence for military activity.
Image; Maryport beach and Lighthouse. © Solway Firth Partnership.